Covid: New advice group to replace Nphet, 21,098 new cases confirmed

A replacement for the National Public Health Emergency Team (Nphet) is expected to be set up soon.

The Tánaiste says discussions are taking place.

It comes as a further 21,098 Covid-19 cases were reported by the Department of Health on Wednesday, including 14,060 who registered a positive antigen test with the Health Service Executive (HSE).

There were 1,395 patients with Covid-19 in hospital, an increase of 56 on the previous day. Of these, 55 patients were intensive care units, a decrease of six from yesterday.

A further nine coronavirus deaths have been recorded in the last week.

Pandemic response

It is the role of the Chief Medical Officer Dr Tony Holohan to continue to give advice on the response to the pandemic at present.

Tánaiste Leo Varadkar says work is underway on establishing a group to succeed Nphet.


“I don’t have a date, but I understand it’s imminent, there were certainly conversations a couple of weeks ago around potential names and people who would be invited to take part in it. I don’t know for sure, but I imagine it’s imminent.”

Meanwhile, the chair of the Irish Medical Organisation’s (IMO) GP committee Dr Denis McCauley has said there is a need for the public to be sensible and responsible about public health measures to combat the current surge in Covid cases.

GPs are seeing a surge in Covid cases, some people were getting quite ill and the numbers in ICU were beginning to go up, he told RTÉ radio’s Morning Ireland.

This is a problem and it needs to be recognised, he said, adding that the thinking needs to be changed “subtly” initially.

The public must be advised to wear masks in settings where there are groups of people, to maintain social distance and to continue to wash their hands.

Public health measures worked, he said, warning: “This hasn’t gone away, it’s coming back.”

Worldwide, a number of countries are struggling with surging Covid cases.

South Korea’s total coronavirus infections topped 10 million, or nearly 20 per cent of its population, authorities said on Wednesday, as surging severe cases and deaths increasingly put a strain on crematoriums and funeral homes nationwide.



The country has been battling a record Covid-19 wave driven by the highly infectious Omicron variant but has largely scrapped its once aggressive tracing and quarantine efforts and has eased social distancing curbs.

Authorities in the Chinese city of Shanghai have denied rumours of a city-wide lockdown after a sixth straight increase in daily asymptomatic coronavirus cases pushed its count to record levels despite a campaign of mass testing aimed at stifling the spread.

In Hong Kong, health authorities reported 12,240 new Covid-19 cases on Wednesday, down from 14,152 the previous day, and 205 new deaths.

Hong Kong’s “dynamic zero” coronavirus strategy, which aims to stamp out outbreaks as they occur with contact tracing, testing and isolation, largely protected it from the virus until the beginning of this year.

But the Omicron variant has breached the defences, surging through the city of 7.4 million people over recent weeks, killing large numbers of elderly who declined to get vaccinated, many because of fear of side-effects and the belief Hong Kong had dodged the worst.

Since the pandemic began in 2020, Hong Kong has recorded more than one million infections and more than 6,300 deaths – most of them in the past month.

Densely populated Hong Kong has registered the most deaths per million people globally in recent weeks. – Additional reporting from Reuters